Medhealth Review

New Approach to Chemotherapy Drug-designing Is Expected in the Future

A possibility being actively considered in the medical world is designing chemotherapy drugs to deal with the side effects of radiation. 

Numerous medications that have been tried as cancer treatments have shown considerable promise in reducing or removing tumors, but they have fallen short in one critical area: they also cause significant side effects by damaging healthy cells.

Research funded by NCI hints at the possibility of a solution to the problem. The study was focused on modifying a chemotherapy drug that was not in use due to reports of it causing damage to gut tissues. 

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The modification was done to alter the drug to a compound that includes ‘off’ and ‘on’ switches. 

In other words, in tumor tissue, the medication DRP-104 is switched “on” and becomes the active drug DON, while it remains “off” or inert in intestinal tissue.

The “on” switch was made to turn the chemical into an active cancer medication when activated by enzymes only present in tumors and not in healthy tissues. So, the drug works only on cancer cells.

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It was tested in mice. The results were positive. Its effect on cancer cells was quite interesting.

“To have a drug that kills cancer cells but activates immune cells is unique. This (results of experiments on mice)enabled us to get this therapy back into [clinical trials], Barbara Slusher, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Barbara was the co-leader of the study. 

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